Happy Birthday Aurora. I dedicate this post to you. I’m so glad to have you in my life.
Permanently affixing my face to Sportello’s sign/Barbara’s heart
Oh sweet, spontaneous Sportello! Wednesday morning, I got the green light from Aurora to select a dining arena for the night’s birthday festivities. Off I went to the online reservation world, clicking like a mad man before good spots were snatched away.
Aurora is a fun diner because she’s adventurous and easy going. I think I could take her someplace that strictly served offal delicacies and she’d find something she
liked loved… not that I would ever take a chance like that for someone else’s birthday. Instead, I immediately started typing in some of Barbara Lynch’s restaurants, most of which were booked for the 7 time slot. I lucked out with Sportello, which falls within a reasonable price range for a good, hearty dinner.
Anyone who’s followed my other cooking blog or knows me in real life knows I have boundless love for Barbara Lynch. She’s jokingly “my girl” (except no, I’m really not kidding). If you’d like to read about my unhealthy obsession with Barbara, proceed here with caution. Also, if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, give this link a try. I documented one of my proudest cooking moments, my semi-success at recreating Barbara’s prune stuffed gnocchi dish from No. 9 Park.
Now that you have some background, you’re sure I love Barbara. I also love Aurora. Appropriate to combine two loves into one amazing night of food.
Snatched the best seat in the house
I arrived promptly at 7 and was greeted by a handsome gentleman who so kindly let me have my pick of the litter. I chose two seats closest to the open kitchen and ordered myself a can of seasonal 21A Bitter American Pale Ale. I’m no beer officionado, but this stuff is good. Citrusy, hoppy, and dare I say floral? Yes, this may just be my summertime beer of choice.
Good bread and my excellent Bitter American Pale Ale (21st Amendment Brewery)
I always like asking the restaurant family what their personal favorites are. They’re certainly around the food enough. If there’s one dish so special that they continue to eat it even after months or years of working with it, you know it’s going to be a wonderful plate of food. And so I inquired with the gentleman chef pictured above. I was already super shy asking to take his picture, so asking his name was clearly out of the question for me in the same night. I need to shake the bashfulness, I know.
His suggestion was the strozzapreti with rabbit and picholine olives. The menu read that it had rosemary, which is not my favorite flavor. Christmas is fun and all, just not in my mouth. He said it would be an easy fix and he could remove it no problem.
It came to the bar in a large bowl, which made me pretty giddy. Large portions of pasta. I mean, what more can you ask for? The rabbit was nicely braised and barely held it together. It was a very fitting contrast to the perfectly al dente strozzapreti pasta. The sauce was rich and was cut by the sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings. All in all, I was very impressed by this dish. If
normal society didn’t look down upon this practice Aurora wasn’t there, I’d have licked my plate clean.
Aurora ordered the veal agnolotti with sweetbreads, mushrooms, and parmigiano-reggiano. I can’t really speak to this dish, but that small bite of sweetbread nestled in a small sheet of pasta I snuck from the birthday girl’s plate was pretty perfect.
Once our empty plates were cleared from the table, we put in an order for the tiramisu to split. Moments later, our waiter surprised us with a complimentary plate of cannolis with one simple birthday candle in each of the two desserts.
Look at this birthday babe!
Complimentary cannolis and our tiramisu
I respect establishments that celebrate with you. For a few moments, you’re all family sitting around your dining room table and the lights go dim and out comes your mom, your favorite uncle, or grandma with a lit birthday cake. That little something special made a great memory for me, and I hope for Aurora. Thank you for showing us a good time, Sportello. I will be back when the rabbit cravings hit, which I’m anticipating will be in the very near future.
348 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210